The appendix summarizes the survey and results which were conducted by The Third Way Forum in September and October 2020. The result summarizes the responses of 61 participants as of December 2020.

The first section “About me” are three questions about the recipients and their working background.

The second part “My company” covers questions about the recipient’s company.


The remaining main part is covering questions about the working experience in Japan. It therefore also covers questions on behavioral customs like drinking parties, which are typical in a Japanese working environment.

The bar charts in Question 8 are about the statements:

  1. I am proud to work at my company
  2. I feel a strong sense of belonging at my company
  3. I am inspired by my work
  4. I feel motivated at work
  5. I would recommend my office as a place to work

The choices were given by: Strongly disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly agree

The bar charts in Question 9 are about the statements: Within my company

  1. I can influence management decisions
  2. People listen to my advice and act on it
  3. It is not clear what my team are really thinking about current projects
  4. Our projects have good governance
  5. Team tasks are well defined
  6. I rely on my team members to do their jobs
  7. Objectives are clear
  8. Support is provided to foreign staff for adjusting to life in Japan
  9. My career goals are supported

The choices were given by: Strongly disagree, Disagree, Neither agree nor disagree, Agree, Strongly agree






The bar charts in Question 10 are about the statements: In my company I:

  1. Share my point of view, even when challenged by others
  2. Speak out, even when there is consensus in the room
  3. Adopt new ways of working when they are introduced
  4. Raise concerns about my work with my manager
  5. Have a conversation with HR or my manager about my role in the company and career
  6. Challenge the status quo
  7. Meet with members from other teams for general sharing/discussions
  8. Go for after-work drinks (nomikai)
  9. Meet with my boss to discuss my performance
  10. Meet with my boss to discuss my career goals

The choices were given by: Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Always

Question 11: Communication in my office is:

  1. Often non-verbal
  2. Primarily conducted in Japanese for business matters
  3. Primarily conducted in English for business matters
  4. Inclusive & informative to Japanese and foreign staff
  5. Helpful and informative to Japanese and foreign staff
  6. Equally informative to foreign staff and Japanese staff

The choices were given by: Strongly disagree, Disagree, Neither agree nor disagree, Agree, Strongly agree

Question 12: In my office, I am satisfied with:

  1. The quality of communication
  2. The frequency of communication
  3. Inclusion of employees in decision making
  4. My career path and opportunities
  5. The culture of my workplace
  6. The atmosphere of my workplace
  7. The speed of decision making

The choices were given by: Very Unsatisfied, Unsatisfied, Neither unsatisfied nor satisfied, Satisfied, Very satisfied

Question 13: My company values

  1. Are clearly documented
  2. Are known by employees
  3. Are shared and well communicated
  4. Impact my daily work
  5. Are different for Japanese employees than foreign staff
  6. Are connected to annual performance reviews

The choices were given by: Strongly disagree, Disagree, Neither agree nor disagree, Agree, Strongly agree

Question 14: My company culture is:

  1. Innovative
  2. Collaborative
  3. Inclusive
  4. Diverse
  5. High Performing
  6. Conservative
  7. Progressive
  8. Traditional
  9. Honest
  10. Ethical

The choices were given by: Strongly disagree, Disagree, Neither agree nor disagree, Agree, Strongly agree

Question 17: My company compared to international competitors:

  1. External brand & marketing activity
  2. Website
  3. Sales team in Japan
  4. International sales team

The choices were given by: Very weak, Weak, Unsure, Strong, Very strong

Question 19: My company’s shift to work-from-home &/or flex-time:

  1. Overall assessment
  2. IT infrastructure and support
  3. Business and working processes
  4. Empoyee KPI’s (reporting, goal setting)
  5. Information sharing with staff
  6. Offering flexible working options (work from home, late start, carpool, etc.)
  7. Family support

Finally, each recipient could choose three options that would help to overcome cultural differences in your office:

  • 1:1 communication with my boss
  • 1:1 communication with colleagues
  • Nomikai or other gatherings (social events)
  • Translation assistance
  • Coach/mentor to discuss my thoughts
  • Networking opportunities with other expats
  • Training for basic Japanese culture

Also a question for future plans and space for free comments were given

22. Please provide a brief explanation for your answer to Question 21. For example, is there a specific reason for your plan? (optional)

  • Open to consider opportunities outside Japan.
  • It is dependent on many variables.
  • Japan is my life.
  • Founded my own company in Japan
  • May leave sooner than later.
  • Japan has provided me numerous opportunities and the challenges I’ve faced here have led to personal and professional growth. I’d like to continue this path I definitely.
  • No plan to live in Japan permanently, but my current company provides good opportunity to advance my career.
  • Studying abroad.
  • Starting a new company in Japan is easier than in any other country.
  • 過去に海外に滞在していたので、環境を変えることに不安はない
  • I plan to stay in Japan for the next few years, but no concrete plan thereafter
  • I will start up my business at JP, PH, and so on.
  • Staying in Japan for sure but planning some career adjustments in the next 10 years
  • As a Japanese, it is a very natural way to pursue further career
  • Technology allows for greater mobility
  • Current COVIT situation and my family (especially for my kids) needs me working in Japan, no plan to work at foreign country because of social support difference and etc
  • Uncertain at this time
  • I would have liked to say I plane my career in Japan for the next 5 years based on career steps and current project work. I am here on a local contract but neither me nor my partner are Japanese, just started building a family so there’s a possibility we might move one day.
  • Probably keep some link to Japan even if in the future I may be based overseas
  • Increasing age vs work and home ownership opportunities, our child’s schooling and lifestyle opportunities in my home country mean a likely return after well over a decade here.
  • I do not have a plan, which scares me a lot. This also leads other concerns.
  • I have a family in Japan (Japanese spouse and child) and plan to stay here long term.
  • Have been in Japan for along time, so expect to stay here.
  • Have given much to Japan. Time to move on.
  • Closes to family
  • I love living and working in Tokyo.
  • I am in the last 1/3 of my career.
  • I have a family in Japan
  • My employer is a US company. If I want to pursue a career in this company I will need to relocate.
  • 日本と海外が繋がる中での業務が自分には合っていると思うから。
  • poor command of English, the age of 55
Question 23: Thank you for taking the time to answer this survey. Please share any additional information about working in Japan
  • Great!
  • 満足のいく環境で働き続けるのは難しい国だと思います。
  • N/A
  • Basic issues the mindset of the political and therefore corporate and education systems. We need to challenge the political leaders to make changes for the Third Way in Japan.
  • Thanks for this! Can you please share dial-in information for the weekly calls? I may wish to join them from time to time. I look forward to again returning to the in-person events. (someday!)
  • Working in Japan is tough for many, easy for others. Not a single pattern or model
  • work as life, well-being


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Third Way Forum Insight 2021 Copyright © 2021 by The Third Way Forum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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